ROCKINGHAM – The Richmond Senior High School junior varsity football team saved its highest scoring performance for the regular season finale against Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent Purnell Swett High School Thursday.
Playing for the third time in a week, the Raiders capped off an undefeated season, their second in a row under second-year head coach Patrick Hope, with an exclamation point 58-14 victory. Richmond (10-0, 7-0 SAC) had clinched the SAC championship Monday when it defeated second-place Seventy-First High School.
“We wanted to finish this season off the right way and go 10-0,” Hope said following the game. “Even though we clinched the championship on Monday, tonight was all about our starters playing well so we could get everyone involved. To be able to see some of the young guys come out and play well on both sides of the ball was really good and it gives fans a glimpse of what to expect next year.”
It was the Raider rushing attack that led the charge, as five different tailbacks combined for 289 total rushing yards and six of the team’s eight total touchdowns. Hope used a revolving door of tailbacks to jump out to a 37-8 halftime lead.
Freshman Jamari Broady had a breakout game, collecting a game-high 94 rushing yards on six carries, while sophomore starter Jaron Coleman padded his 1,000+ yard season with 72 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
Sophomore tailback Daveion Campbell had two first-half scores and collected 57 yards on just four carries. Rounding out the rushing parade was sophomore Jah’meek Harden, who added a touchdown and 52 yards on eight attempts in the second half.
Complimenting the Richmond running game was a duo of freshman quarterbacks in Kellan Hood and Harley Honeycutt. Hood, who started under center and played the first half, went 6-for-11 through the air with 75 yards and a passing touchdown. Honeycutt, who was recently called up from the freshman team, closed out the game, adding a touchdown on 2-of-3 passing with 46 yards.
Richmond scored on every possession but one on the night (8-for-9), but it was the defense that got the scoring started. Purnell Swett’s first drive resulted in a punt attempt from its own three-yard line, and Richmond blocked the punt and tackled a Ram player who recovered the ball in the end zone for a safety.
Three plays later after the kickoff, Hood dropped back and connected with sophomore wide receiver Jarod Morrison for a 20-yard score. Just 2:13 into the game, the Raiders held a 9-0 lead after Mack West tacked on the extra point.
One of the few splash plays on the night for the Rams came on the ensuing kickoff, as they returned it 85 yards to the house. The two-point attempt was good, and Richmond led by just one point, 9-8.
The Raiders would score two more times in the opening quarter while keeping the Rams off the board, with both scores coming on their next two possessions and just 54 seconds apart. The first drive, a 10-play, 50-yard march, Richmond’s longest of the night, saw Campbell notch the first of his two touchdowns, blasting in from five yards with 2:18 left on the clock.
West kicked the ball off following the score, and it was Broady who came up with the ball after the Rams fumbled it on the return. Richmond took over at the Purnell Swett 18-yard line, and one the first play, Hood hit freshman JD Lampley, who usually lines up as a defensive end, for a 14-yard gain inside the five-yard line. Coleman came in and make quick work on the next play, a four-yard rushing score. At the end of the first quarter, Richmond led 23-8.
The only other time the Rams would find the end zone on the night came on their first drive of the second quarter, which was extended by a muffed punt recovery by the Raiders. The 15-play, 93-yard drive also saw a horse collar and pass interference penalty by Richmond, moving the Rams 30 yards closer to the end zone. The drive ended with a 15-yard score up the middle to cut the deficit to 23-14 after the two-point conversion was no good.
Coleman and Campbell would each add their second respective touchdowns of the night in the final 1:59 of the opening half. Coleman took five straight handoffs from Hood on his scoring drive, barreling ahead for 35 rushing yards before muscling in from a yard out. Campbell’s score came after the Richmond defense held the Rams to a short three-and-out. Following an incomplete pass and a Purnell Swett penalty, Campbell scooted up the middle and raced in from 40 yards to pay dirt.
“Having four running backs helps a lot and they’re all really good,” Hope said of his running game. “All of them took it the distance at least once tonight, and it’s a good problem to have. It’s also a luxury we didn’t have earlier in the year, so this depth kept guys fresh.”
The second half would see Hope’s Raiders score three more touchdowns (two rushing, one passing), and hold the Rams off the scoreboard. Sending in second string players in several skill positions, it was Harden who scored on second-and-goal from the one-yard line on the Raiders first drive out of the break, putting the home team up 44-14.
A couple of minutes later, Honeycutt capped off a four-play, 44-yard drive when he found sophomore wide receiver Jaheim Harrington on a 41-yard catch and run to close out the the quarter. In the final frame, Broady would dot the exclamation point with a 46-yard touchdown run in the final two minutes to give the Raiders their most points in a single game this season.
“Tonight was all about going back to the basics,” Hope explained. “We did things the way we’ve done them all season and played smarter football. The kids made it a memorable night.
“I’m really excited about the kids committing to the process that it takes to win,” Hope concluded. “That’s what it’s going to take on Friday nights. I’m thankful for having a great group of coaches in Kevin Alfonso, Chris Dennis, Chris Campolieta and all of the varsity coaches. They all believe in the JV program being a feeder program to varsity team.”
ROSports will publish a season recap of the junior varsity football program in the coming week.